Category Archives: Opinions

Thoughts on the Malaysia Cadbury Dairy Milk Pork DNA controversy [Update-3]

Cadbury Malaysia

 

 

 

 

 

My thoughts on the Malaysia Cadbury Dairy Milk Pork DNA controversy

Statement from Cadbury Malaysia

 

Update: Below is from Cadbury Pakistan on Dairy Milk sold in Pakistan

 

 

And now Malaysia authorities have cleared Cadbury of any traces of Pork DNA. But most consumers will likely remain wary of products for some time until this fades from memory.

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Beards are not just for Terrorists | Express Tribune Blog – Views of DiscoMaulvi

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I came across an interesting blog post today on the Express Tribune web page by Syed Faiq Najeeb and started writing a comment there. It turned out that I wanted to preserve and highlight what I wrote, so I decided to just post it here and post a link there instead.

For years I lived any young adult’s dream; there was music, parties, banter, unorthodox festivities, substance abuse and a fair degree of foul play. Then things changed radically – it was nothing short of a revolution; I grew a beard.

After extensively studying and reading about both Islam and other religions, I started to pray five times a day and even encourage friends and colleagues towards the path of salvation. I have finally chosen spirituality over (supposed) rationality and have given up on worldly desires to pursue those of an eternal life.

Since I can’t post the entire article here, I would suggest you head over to the Express Tribune Blog to read it before reading my comments on it below.


Faiq and I are in the same boat; difference is I’ve been facing this "discrimination" for over 12 years (yes there was discrimination before 9/11 also!).

As I wrote in The Story of DiscoMaulvi, I too turned towards religion after a year of partying and living it up in college. Once I did start that journey, the decision to grow a beard came naturally. As Faiq pointed out in his post, “I no longer wished to be part of activities which I used to indulge in before”. In addition, the beard served as a reminder of my decision to turn towards religion and in times when I was tempted it often served to keep me in check.

The importance of the beard has been intentionally marginalized over the centuries. Whereby once the fact that you shaved meant that your testimony would not be accepted (in fact in the eyes of Imam Abu Hanifa, whose school of thought majority of the muslims in Pakistan claim to follow blindly, keeping a beard was obligatory), now we hear people claiming it is JUST A SUNNAH.

Regarding the issue of the bearded baddies, it is unfair to generalize the entire bearded population on the basis of the actions of some. It is like saying just because some Pakistanis are corrupt, all of them are. Bet that would cause most of the people to throw a hissy fit!

As for the "Dari Islam mein hai, Islam dari mein nahin" statement everyone loves to quote, that statement is ABSOLUTELY RIGHT YET COMPLETELY WRONG! By keeping a beard, you don’t become pious. But by not keeping a beard you can not be pious (if we take the position that the beard is obligatory as was the opinion of the 4 Imams whose schools of thought are widely followed or those of the numerous imams and scholars whose names most people never ever heard of).

May Allah give us the ability to understand Islam as understood by the sahaba (R) and the early generations. And may He make us obedient to His commands. Aameen.

Aly - Clean Shaven in August 1997

Aly B – August 1997, NCSU, Raleigh, North Carolina

  Blaagers - 100528 - Blog Awards 2010 - 002

Aly B – May 2010, Pakistan Blog Awards, Karachi, Pakistan

Indecency Commercialized Part Deux

Guest Post by Saeed M. Originally Posted on Author’s Space on Yello.Pk

 

 

Assalamu’Alaikum:

Masha’Allah, there are many different pockets of people speaking out about this rising tide of insensitivity in advertising. Below is an email from a colleague (her identity is referred to as K.O. for the purpose of this post) about Hiba Magazine’s efforts in rousing people towards this cause. Let’s join hands and do this collectively. The whole is greater than the sum, Insha’Allah.

 

Assalamu’Alaikum all,

HIBA Magazine has been doing a "Raise you Voice" section in their magazine for a while now.  Their initiative is to write to companies who use distasteful and inappropriate advertising to sell their products.

We are all aware of the alarming increase in obscenity and vulgarity in our media – particularly advertising. Are we not going to do anything about it?

We must wake up from our complacent slumber and raise our voice.  Do we have any other choice? Please ask your circle of influence to raise their voice.

A sample email written to Gul Ahmed Textiles is at the end of this message.

May Allah help and guide us all and may He write us among those who stand up for His deen.  Ameen

Wassalam
K.O.

 

 

HIBA MAGAZINE

Raise your Voice

For this month’s “Raise your Voice” we are sending the following letters:

1.      Omore Icecream: We sent a letter to Engro Foods, complaining about their recent advertisement of Omore. We emphasized that ridiculous dancing does little to advertise ice-cream, but does loads to promote the wrong values. You can send a letter of protest against this advertisement to their ad agency at info@ialideas.com and the_vision_factory@yahoo.co.uk. To complain to the parent company, send an email to: rkhaliq@engro.com. You can also complain at the Engro website at:
http://engrofoods.supportpad.com/submit.php?id=qwezasdqqwca1sdqwe3qw

 

2.      Gul Ahmed Textiles: We sent a letter to Gul Ahmed Textiles to protest against their billboard at Punjab Chowrangi, Clifton (among other places). You can also send in your letters / emails to:

Mr. Huzaifa Essabhai
Marketing Executive
Gul Ahmed Textile Mills Ltd
H.T/4 Landhi Industrial Area Karachi-75120
Pakistan

Ph: +92-21-111485485 Ext-6536
Fax: +92-21-5082625
Cell: +92-333-2361269
Email: huzaifa.essabhai@gulahmed.com

 

3.      Master Molty Foam: It was brought to our attention that the Master Molty Foam ad is also highly vulgar and distasteful. If you have seen this advertisement, please write to
customerssupport@master.com.pk and rehman@master.com.pk to register your protest.

 

4.      Nando’s: Has anyone noticed the alarming frequency with which the Nando’s advertisements and flyers have started to feature the phrase “hot chicks”? We sent them a strong letter of condemnation against this use of phrase.

 

5.      Accessorize: This international brand apparently did not consider local values when it placed a front page advertisement in Metropolitan, Dawn. We sent them an educational letter, requesting them to revamp their advertisements in line with the values of the country, where they are advertising. Do send them this request also,
at: generalenquiries@monsoon.co.uk

 

6.      Pepsi Cola International: Huge, glaring billboards of Slice Mango Juice are a torture to the eyes. We are sending them a letter through their website, requesting them to emphasize more on the product than on the model. Interestingly, they wrote back to us, giving us a specific address/phone number to complain on. Here it is now. Please write to them too:

MIDDLE EAST/PAKISTAN
PEPSI-COLA INTERNATIONAL
National Bank of Fujairah Bldg.
Khalid Ibn Al Waleed Road
P.O. Box 11330 Dubai
United Arab Emirates

Phone: (971 4) 3971 666
Fax: (971 4) 3972 048

 

7.      Pakola: Last year, we wrote to Pakola Milk commending them on a billboard, which was without a single model. This year, they have re-introduced the billboards, with glaring images of models. We are sending a letter of disappointment to them. You can also get in touch with them at info@pakola.com.pk and sales@pakola.com.pk

 

 

 

Sample E-Mail to Gul Ahmed Textile

From:
To: huzaifa.essabhai@gulahmed.com
Subject:
Date: Mon, 31 May 2010 11:43:52 +0600

Mr Essabhai,

Assalamu’Alaikum.

I am a fan and loyal customer of Gul Ahmed fabrics and products. Your name has been synonymous with good quality and value for money. However, I am disappointed at the current trend in your marketing. The use of female sexuality to sell products is a cheap gimmick – does it really add value to your product?  If so, then what value?  Is it worth challenging the religious and cultural sensibilities of your customers?  And yes, majority of your customers do get outraged by billboards and catalogues selling NOT just lawn but sex.  As a woman, I am appalled to see my kind being so unashamedly exploited to sell stuff.

Gul Ahmed has been a business leader of this country for decades.  You do not need to jump on the bandwagon of distasteful and morally corrupt advertising campaigns. In fact one expects you to lead the industry with an example of ethical business practices.

You must consider this seriously.

Thank you.

Sincerely,

K.O.
(A concerned citizen and customer of Gul Ahmed)

Omore – Indecency Commercialized

Guest Post by Saeed MOriginally Posted on the Author’s Yello.Pk Blog

Ever get the feeling that you’re slipping down a slippery slope, and there is not a handhold or a foothold in sight?

I remember that billboard for Jazz, put up at the intersection of KalaPul and Shahrah-e-Faisal many years ago, with a lady talking suggestively on the phone. Every time I would pass by it, I would wish that someone would do something about it. I did nothing about it. One day, I heard that it caught fire. Stories went around that some disgruntled fundos did it. And I wished I was one of them.

For some time, the ads became a little more decent. And then the deluge began. With cell phone companies leading the way, mattress peddlers, soft drink makers and just about everyone else began TV ads, billboards etc with women giving the come hither look to the poor unsuspecting men, just to sell some airtime minutes.

Soon to follow, Indian movies moved out of drawing room VCRs to our cinema halls. And women anchors on TV talk shows wearing T-Shirts. And then, women in tight clothes were all around, going to schools selling Red Bull, approaching you in shopping malls selling shampoo, and so on….

I thought the women’s liberation movement was all about liberating women from the exploitation of men. But I look around me in the year 2010 and I see beautiful women being used to sell wares. This selling is not through intelligent persuasion but through subliminal targeting and manipulation. So this is liberation?

This probably sounds like a tempest in a teacup to those who don’t remember the days before that Jazz ad. Indecency does not shock us anymore, because it is everywhere. Much less than stopping it with our hands, or speaking out against it, we often neglect to even think of these as bad in our hearts.

If things are to change, we need to be that change.

There is an ad campaign on TV these days selling Omore ice-cream, in which young men and women in tight clothes do gymnastic dance moves, to sell ICE-CREAM cones! I find it distasteful (the ad – haven’t tried the ice-cream). Yet, I was complacent. Then I received an email from a friend, informing me of a kind soul who started an email campaign to urge Engro Foods to pull that commercial. And I did the same. And I felt like it was the first blow I struck, insignificant as it was.

If we are to stop this exploitation of our sisters and daughters, we must speak out against it wherever we see it. And to back up those words with actions such as choosing a competing product in protest.

Image Courtest PakMediaBlog

If you share my view, kindly write a polite email to Engro Foods, asking them to pull the ads because they offend our religious and cultural sensibilities. You may send these to Mr. Rehan (rkhaliq@engro.com). Please remember to be polite but firm. Kindly send a Bcc to kashifhaf@gmail.com, so that he can monitor how much pressure we are exerting. And spread the word to your circle of family and friends, so that they may speak up too.

Being silent is not an option any more.

Facebook Ban – A Response to a comment on Teeth Maestro

I initially started this as a response to this comment by Arzoo on this post on Teeth Maestro on the subject of Everybody Draw Mohammed Day and the ensuing Facebook Ban but decided it needed to be on my blog for a longer response.

arzoo says:

May 21, 2010 at 2:29 pm

You are not a Religious Scholar as you admitted “I’m not a religious scholar” But yet you make a statement on something you don’t know

You Don’t Agree With All of Scholars Of Islam Including All the Prominent Scholars ? You Disagree with Prophet (PBUH) order to Umer (RZ) to kill the Jew who insulted Prophet (PBUH)

The ruling on one who insults the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him)

The scholars are unanimously agreed that a Muslim who insults the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) becomes a kaafir and an apostate who is to be executed. This consensus was narrated by more than one of the scholars, such as Imaam Ishaaq ibn Raahawayh, Ibn al-Mundhir, al-Qaadi ‘Iyaad, al-Khattaabi and others. Al-Saarim al-Maslool, 2/13-

http://forum.chatdd.com/religions/54002-punishment-insulting-prophet-muhammad-saw.html

 

My Response

Dear Arzoo:

I agree with you that the thought of anyone disrespecting our Prophet (SAW) should make your blood boil and make you want to chop his head off. This should be our level of Iman that we love Allah and his Rasool above all even ourselves.

I however disagree that we as individuals should go about chopping heads. This is the duty of the Khalifa to impose such a punishment and as an individual or group of muslims we have no legal Islamic right to harm anyone.

While the incident of the Jew you mentioned may have happened, the order was given by the Amir-ul-Momineen of that time (the Prophet (SAW)) and Omar (RA) would have not been right if he killed the Jew on his own initiative. Today we neither have the Prophet (SAW) in our midst nor a Khalifa. Thus, to impose these verdicts is not in our legal right.

I am all for the Government banning specific links to all that is unsafe and unislamic (includes thousands of porn websites that anybody can easily access, links to terrorist outfits, Nazi websites, and several anti-Islam websites). I am also all for the Government protesting on the international front by sending a strictly worded letter to the country where this all started (USA), raise this issue from the platform of Islamic bodies and in the UN. Blanket bans of Facebook, YouTube, Wikipedia, Flickr, etc have just served to catapult this issue in the limelight as Fatima Ajmal, Sana Saleem and several other Blaagers have highlighted that we have created free publicity for the perpetrators of this filth and then banned our own access to be able to protest it on the forum of propogation!!

Allah (SWT) has made Islam a complete religion and way of life for us. We look at the incident of the Jew and we take it as proof for violence but we do not look at the rage of the Prophet (SAW) when he expressed his wish to go and burn the houses of those Muslims who did not come to the Masjid for Fajr. Our blood does not boil when we see the elite of this country (and increasingly the non-elite) consume alcohol and make fun of Islamic injunctions. Are we enraged when we see our country waging war against Allah and His Messenger (SAW) by allowing an interest based economy?

Granted that if I am not following one part of Islam, it doesn’t mean that I should stop following another part. We should however use this incident to do a self-evaluation and see just how we are insulting the Prophet (SAW) in our daily lives by ignoring all the things he ordered us to do.

At the end of the day, I am reminded of a verse by Allama Iqbal

Na Thi Jab Apnay Haal Ki Khabar
Dekhtay Rehay Logon Kay Aib-o-Hunar
Parri Jab Apnay Gunahoon Par Nazar
To Nigah Mein Koi Aur Bura Na Raha!

Ramadan Memories

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Every year that Ramadan swings round the corner, and as I am standing in the Tarawih prayers, my thoughts invariably wander to the yesteryears of college.

What is it about standing in prayer that reminds me of college? Well Raleigh, NC (where I went to college) was a town with a small but vibrant Muslim population. During Ramadan, our Masjid (Islamic Association of Raleigh) had arrangements after Isha for Tarawih. Tarawih prayers were eight rakats, with a break after four during which someone or the other gave a short discourse on any topic of religious or societal importance.

I particularly remember my first two years in Raleigh, when Tarawih was lead by a visiting imam from Virginia called Muhammad Faqih. Brother Faqih was a young chap, under 30, who was blessed with one of the most beautiful voices I have ever heard recite the Holy Quran. We didnt finish the Quran during Ramadan as is the trend in a lot of places. But instead we had long Rakats of slow and thoughtful recitation, long rukoos and sujoods. As we stood beind Brother Faqih, despite not understanding the Arabic, we were moved to tears on the parts we should be crying (on stories of previous nations that disobeyed Allah and were destroyed, mention of Heaven and Hell, and other such places).

 Tarawih Prayer at the Haram in Makkah

So why is that experience remembered every year? It is maybe because here in Pakistanthe focus of Tarawih has shifted from a regular prayer of prolonged Qiyaam, Rukoo and Sujood to a bid to finish the Quran before the new moon is sighted. Today, we see people having 03 day, 05 day, 10 day, etc Tarawihs that are an insult to the very purpose of the prayer. The imam in order to recite the entrie Quran in 03 days is at Turbo mode and often it is impossible to decipher the words being recited (assuming any of the followers behind the imam or the imam himself know Arabic!). Suddenly the purpose has shifted to finishing the Quran and after 03 days the people head off to enjoy themselves, or to their businesses. However, the purpose is not the finishing of the Quran, it is the consistent act of praying 29 (or 30) days, reflecting on the text, and prostrating ourselves before our Creator in a bid to seek His Pleasure.

I sometimes regret that I never fully utilized the opportunity that Allah (SWT) gave me then, instead justifying missing prayers due to pressure from my assignments and classes, lack of transport to the Masjid, etc. Even after I began seeing life in a new light, I still missed the wonderful opportunity of those years.

In the past few years, Pakistan has seen a revival of Islamic thought and several organizations are now trying to get people to understand the Quran that is recited by having arrangments for explanation of the portions recited every 04 rakats to be translated and explained. However, this demands a considerable time commitment as this takes around 03 hours each night and most of us unfortunately are not willing to make this commitment.

I think as a first step, the major religious leaders should get together and ban any such Tarawih prayer where the recitation of the imam is so fast that the words blend into each other and often meanings are changed in the process. In addition, they should form the consensus that 03 day, 05 day, etc Tarawih are against the spirit of the prayer and discourage them on public platforms.

It is a long shot to ask but it is sorely needed as more and more of these Turbo sessions seem to be cropping up all over the city.

Now if you will excuse me I need to go back to re-living my memories…….

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Where Does Our Responsibility Lie?

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Guest Post by
Afnan Ahmed

Afnan Ahmed
Afnan Ahmed

We all are well aware of the critical situation our beloved country, Pakistan is facing. Every other day there are rumors that Pakistan will not survive in future. The country behind all of this is none other than our neighbor, India. Our government still insists that Indians have no such intentions; however, we all know very well that India was never our friend and never will be. Pakistan was created after partitioning the sub-continent, that is, India who opposed the partition till the end when it seemed an inevitable event. We all are acquainted with the bloody trail that links our independence.

A person, who leaves his house nowadays to go to work, does not know if he will return to his family. Suicide bombers haunt our lives day and night. We are torn between who to believe and where to go. We don’t know what we are going to give to the next generation that is yet to come. Political uncertainty for the past few years has ruined our day to day lives.

Now the questions arise: What are we to do in the present circumstances? Where does our responsibility lie? Are we to sit hand-on-hand and curse our government of their policies or shall we do something constructive of our own in order to make a difference?

I believe that we, the youth of Pakistan have a huge responsibility on our shoulders. The future of our country lies in our hands. Most will be keen to let Pakistan go into turmoil, saying what Pakistan has given them, however, I believe that what we are today, we are because of Pakistan. Even if we go abroad and settle there, we will always be Pakistani. Pakistan has given us what no other country could give us, that is, an identity. What I mean to say is that how can we neglect the sacrifices that were made by our elders to give us a free land to live.

We all are quite impressed by the Europeans and Indians. We all like to watch their movies, that’s fair enough but we should not forget our true identity. We should keep in mind that rather than cursing our government we need to make a difference ourselves. We are always condemning what we see around us that is: illiteracy, terrorism, litter (garbage) etc; yet we do not think about doing something our self. I know we cannot do anything about terrorism except praying but what we can do is that we can teach our servant’s children to read and write and we can stop throwing litter on the roads. Although we can not bring a subsequent change, we can teach our younger generation so that a well-civilized society could be established in a not too distant future. We can create awareness among others to be conservative and less wasteful.

The load-shedding is another concern as it has developed into a threat; however most of us point our fingers at the government and the KESC rather than conserving electricity ourselves. We need to stop stealing and wasting electricity if we want to see this issue resolved. It’s very easy to complain about others but it’s very difficult to correct ourselves. The traffic signal has become another issue nowadays as mostly people derive others of their right at the signal. The majority of accidents that occur these days are due to overlooking the traffic rules and being ignorant. At this issue even, we accuse the government nevertheless the fault is ours and only we can rectify this issue.

Afnan Ahmed is a 16 year-old resident of Karachi, who recently completed his O-Levels from the Beaconhouse School System. He is also a former participant in the Active Saturdays program. He believes if we do not stand up for this cause right now, then we might never be able to see Pakistan as we want it. It is his hope that it will create awareness among our youth and drive them in making Pakistan, a better place to live. Please remember him in your prayers.

 

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